Thursday, April 26, 2018
Public safety

Accepting responsibility

The video was shot from her cell at the Land O'Lakes jail. Brittany Miles sat in front of a bunk bed and a cinder block wall and warned teens not to make the same mistakes she'd made.

"An innocent man died because of the choices that I made, not anyone else's choices," she said. "That's something that I go to bed with every night."

Miles was strung out on pills the morning of May 10, 2011, when she was pulled over on U.S. 19 for driving erratically. Miles, then a 21-year-old stripper, managed to slip out of a Pasco deputy's cruiser. She jumped back into her pickup and sped away, dragging a deputy part of the way.

The high-speed chase ran into Hernando County where she smashed into motorcyclist Henry McCain, killing him. Then she ran off the road and was arrested.

At first she showed no remorse.

"It wasn't on purpose," she said in a phone call to her son's father, which was recorded by the jail. "How can they charge you for murder for a car accident?"

But she asked for forgiveness in December, when she was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the Pasco County charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, escape, fleeing and DUI. She will face a murder charge in Hernando County for McCain's death.

That trial is slated to start March 4.

In the meantime, she became one of several inmates at the Pasco County jail to record a video about her experience for the Juvenile Choice Program, which provides cautionary tales aimed at deterring teens from risky behavior. Miles' video debuted Tuesday morning at Zephyrhills High School, and will be shown at other campuses in the months to come. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office says it hopes to reach 4,000 students with the program.

The video was news to Assistant State Attorney Bill Catto, who will prosecute Miles on the murder charge in Hernando. He said he was working to get a copy of the video and was hesitant to reach an opinion until he reviews it.

"If I decide that the video is admissible and something that can be used (in court), I would use the video," Catto said. "I can't imagine it would hurt me in any way, so the only decision is how it would help me."

Robert W. Rawlins, Miles' attorney, did not return a call from the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday.

Reached via email, Henry McCain's widow, Anita, said it doesn't change much.

"I'm glad that she is admitting guilt," Anita McCain wrote. "I have no interest in seeing the video. What interests me is what Ms. Miles will say to me face-to-face one day."

From her jail cell, Miles, now 23, told the students she was raised well.

She had graduated high school and attended college. She had run businesses and had a child. Her mother was a Hernando sheriff's deputy. She didn't think anything like this could happen to her.

Then she got hooked on prescription pills. She started working at strip clubs. She killed a man.

"I still can't believe I'm here," she said. "It's not where I thought I'd be."

Alex Orlando can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.

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